House named police chief

Posted 11/11/17

By ED HOWELL

Daily Mountain Eagle

CARBON HILL — Eric House of Parrish was hired Thursday night as the new police chief of Carbon Hill — just four months after the last chief was …

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House named police chief

Posted

By ED HOWELL

Daily Mountain Eagle

CARBON HILL — Eric House of Parrish was hired Thursday night as the new police chief of Carbon Hill — just four months after the last chief was hired.

The council voted 4-0 to employ House, with District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough and District 4 Councilman Chandler Gann absent.

After a 23-minute executive session to discuss the good name and character of an employee, the council voted in one minute, 18 seconds on a series of four related motions without discussion. It hired John J. Jackson Jr., moving him from a part-time police officer to a full-time officer. It approved Mayor Mark Chambers’ decision to move Jason Hare from police chief to patrol officer at a pay rate of $13 per hour. It then voted to accept Hare’s resignation, effective Nov. 3, and then voted to hire House as police chief.

Hare was hired onto the force on April 27. He was then hired by Chambers as acting chief on June 27, after Chambers fired then-Police Chief Paul Agnew that day, for reasons that have never been made public.

The council then approved Hare as police chief on July 13.

Chambers said on Nov. 3 he had demoted Hare effective that day.

“I’ve determined at the end of his six-month probationary period that he’s not going to be able to lead the police department in the direction that it needs to go,” Chambers said that day. “He is failing to meet the requirements of what has been asked of him. We’re going to go in a different direction.”

The mayor said at least three larger meetings have been held with Hare regarding concerns, while several smaller, private meetings have also been held outlining what the mayor expected to be done. Chambers said Hare still does a great job as an officer.

Chambers said, “I want to give these business owners and citizens the protection they need and deserve. That’s what it comes down to. There’s a certain standard that is going to be met here and we’re going to get it done. Someway or another, we’re going to get it done.” 

Hare said at the time his attorney had advised him not to give a statement at that time.

On Thursday, Chambers did not make any remarks to the council concerning the police chief situation. In his council report, House said 11 former officers were still in a computer system that should have been taken out by now, and he had removed them so that the state is now updated on its records.

Before Thursday’s meeting, House, 51, said he was last an officer in Parrish and that he was sworn in on Saturday, Nov. 4, as the interim police chief.

The Parrish native said he graduated from Walker High School in 1984 and started his police career in Sumiton in 1998. He also served in Adamsville, Dora and Parrish.

House noted he has been involved with the volunteer fire and rescue service in Parrish, and he still plans to continue as an officer at Bevill State Community College. He has been trained as a use in force instructor, tasers and radar certification. “I have a whole list of stuff that I teach,” he said.

He and his wife, Andrea, have two grown children, Erica and Matthew.

“I want to try to clean up the streets for drugs and the theft issues, and I want to bring the community and the police department together,” he said. “That’s my main goal.” 

Also at the council meeting, the council informally agreed not to sponsor Matt Handley to attend the police academy. House said to send anyone to the academy, they would have to be hired full-time with full-time benefits, which council members said the city could not afford to do. The hiring would have to take place prior to the sponsorship, and the paperwork would take several weeks to handle.

House said he did not have a full-time position to fill at the moment, although he said he was willing to talk to Handley about what the requirements are.

The council also voted 3-0 to give a $1 an hour raise to full-time dispatchers Brittany Chambers and Madison Gurganus, as the raises were promised three or four years ago when they gave other employees in the city a raise. “Brittany had only been hired on for a couple of months at that time,” Mark Chambers said. “The statement was made that after they had worked a year, they would get the $1 an hour raise. It never got put on their checks. They’ve asked for it to be put on the agenda tonight.” Backpay was not requested, nor was it approved as part of the motion.

District 5 Councilman Jason Chambers, who attended his first council meeting Thursday after being appointed back onto the council, abstained from voting on the raise. Brittany Chambers is the mayor’s daughter.